Defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii has been dismissed from the University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Warrior football team.
The 2015 all-conference selection also lost his scholarship for violating the university’s student-athlete conduct code.
Tulimasealii was arrested in McCully in April and charged with resisting arrest, harassment and two counts of assault in the third degree.
He was also charged with a separate criminal property damage offense in connection with an incident that occurred in March.
He pleaded no contest to the charges two weeks ago, which according to university code is grounds for dismissal.
The university’s athletics department released the following statement:
“Defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii has been dismissed from the University of Hawaii football team for violating the UH student-athlete conduct code. The code states that ‘any student-athlete convicted of or pleading guilty or no contest to a felony charge shall be permanently dismissed from the team.’ In regards to his scholarship, the code states ‘the grant-in-aid shall not be renewed for any successive academic years.’ An appeal process is available. We hope that Kennedy will continue his college education and work toward receiving his degree. He will always be a part of the Rainbow Warrior ohana and we hope that his recent troubles do not define his life.”
Tulimasealii will appeal the decision, and is also seeking a deferral in court which, with good behavior, could see the charges removed from his record in August.
It’s unclear what that could mean for his future with UH.
“Nobody’s happy about this but this is the repercussions of decisions that were made. We implemented what was in the student-athlete handbook, that’s been in the handbook for at least five years,” said UH football head coach Nick Rolovich. “You’ve got a young man who has hit a pretty good bump in the road and we wish him all the best. Like I said, he’ll always be a part of our family, and I’m sure he’s hurting. I’m sure he’s hurting. That’s a guy who loved football and he doesn’t have it anymore. I think it needs to be a lesson for all young men and women that you’ve got to think twice before you make some of these decisions.”
According to Rolovich, the appeal process to the suspension could be completed in 14 days, but the deferral ruling wouldn’t be known until August.
Tulimasealii is already registered for the summer, and will have his scholarship and stipends removed following the session.
Fellow player Kaaumoana Gifford was also arrested in April. He pleaded no contest to charges of resisting arrest and harassment.
However, Gifford was reinstated on a probationary basis as his charges were misdemeanors, not felonies.
He is able to work out with the team in the off-season, but must meet certain academic and community benchmarks before his status is re-evaluated.